By Hamza Ibrahim Chinade.
The Center for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) has for over a year been holding a youths mentorship programme titled “Inspiring Leadership Reflection Interactive Series (ILERIS) where people that have remarkable achievements in their different endeavors and professions are invited to share their experience with the participating youths so that the youths draw inspiration and direction from the struggle of the invited resource persons. It could be recalled that previously the programme has featured Chairman of Daily Trust newspaper, Malam Kabiru Yusuf, Director General of Progressive Governors Forum, Malam Salihu Lukman, Commissioner of Agriculture in Kano state, Hon. Dr. Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna and many others. This month, ILERIS hosts the immediate past Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Prof. Attahiru Muhammad Jega, OFR.
In his opening remarks, the Executive Director of the organization, Malam Y.Z Ya’u said the composition of the participants for the youths development programme centers around the staff of the organization who are mostly below thirty five years, members of Peace Clubs and Students for Peace in tertiary institutions across Kano state, other youths groups and organizations as well as members of the civil society in Kano. Emphasizing the relevance of the monthly lecture and the need for the participants to learn from the experience of the guest speaker, Ya’u said “we think that we want to change the mentality, people these days think about the best cars in town, the best house in town, but we think that the best ideas are things that we should exploit”.
The guest speaker, Prof. Attahiru Muhammad Jega began his interaction with the participants with a logical and insightful narrative of his life history, where he was born, schools he attended and positions he held before comprehensively dwelling on his struggle in the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) from late 1980s to mid 1990s. While in ASUU, Prof. Jega strived hard to prevent the university system from total collapse amidst pressure and even threat from the then military regime. Hard work and determination pay as Jega is now happy to recall that in 1992 the military government realized that what ASUU was demanding was the right thing and therefore negotiated agreement with ASUU to revive the university system and it was under that agreement that the Tertiary Education Tax Fund was established, now known as TETFUND.
Recalling his days in ASUU, Jega admitted that he has learned a lot from the struggle, “ideas are important and nobody has monopoly of ideas, and it is the superiority of the ideas that are important, it’s important for discussions, it’s important for debate, it’s important for dialogue and at the end of it the best idea should be looked for and then utilized” said Jega. Cautioning the participants on the proper utilization of ideas, the guest speaker maintained that ideas may turn out to be useless if they are not put to good use, “don’t waste ideas, generate them and put to good use” he added. The monthly lecture series was full of good quotes and phrases that the participants really find interesting, advising the youths, Prof. Jega emphasized that networking is very important, and you start networking from the student days, it’s not too late to start networking but the earlier the better, “we have been very active in students union movements, we have been very active in building what we called bridges across the Niger, and whatever success we had in ASUU it’s because we were able to build a pan-Nigerian alliance where people accepted ideas of bringing positive changes to the university system and provided support in terms of how we could resolutely push those ideas.
Solidifying enthusiasm and zeal in the youths to realize their potentials through commitment, hard work, determination and resolve, Prof. Jega threw another quote “things can be difficult but they are not necessarily impossible”, he extensively explained what the quote entails with examples as the participating youths keep applauding him. The last segment of the monthly Inspiring Leadership Reflection Interactive Series (ILERIS) was comments and questions session after which publications of the organization was presented to the guest by Projects Coordinator Malam Isyaku Garba and vote of thanks was offered by Senior Programmes Officer Malma Isa Garba.